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VIDEO: THE PRODUCERS Celebrates 20 Years of Scams, Songs, and Showgirls

On this day in 2001, it was springtime on Broadway as Mel Brooks' comedic masterpiece began its record-smashing, history-making Broadway run.

VIDEO: THE PRODUCERS Celebrates 20 Years of Scams, Songs, and Showgirls

Today we're celebrating the 20th anniversary of Mel Brooks' The Producers, which opened to rave reviews at the St. James Theatre on this day in 2001.

Based on Brooks' Academy Award-winning 1968 film of the same name, The Producers is the story of down-on-his-luck theatrical producer, Max Bialystock, and Leo Bloom, a mousy accountant. Together they hatch the ultimate scam: raise more money than you need for a sure-fire Broadway flop and pocket the difference. Their "sure-fire" theatrical fiasco? None other than the musical Springtime for Hitler.

The day after its opening, The Producers broke the record for the largest single day box office gross in theater history, taking in more than $3 million, and then went on to break its own record in 2003 with over $3.5 million in single day ticket sales.

The original Broadway cast of the producers starred Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock, Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom, Cady Huffman as Ulla, Gary Beach as Roger de Bris, Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia, and Brad Oscar as Franz Liebkind.

The musical is the recipient of the most Tony Awards in theater history. The show took home 12 wins including Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Nathan Lane), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Gary Beach), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Cady Huffman), Best Book (Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan), Best Score (Mel Brooks), Best Orchestrations (Doug Besterman), Best Costumes (William Ivey Long), Best Scenic Design (Robin Wagner), Best Lighting Design (Peter Kaczorowski), Best Choreography and Best Direction (Susan Stroman),

Two national touring companies played 74 cities throughout the United States, beginning in September 2002, and grossed over $214 million. To date, The Producers has played in numerous countries around including London, Budapest, Copenhagen, Italy, Korea, Spain, Mexico, Israel and Prague. A major motion picture version of the show was released by Sony Pictures in 2005.



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